August 14th, 2012
Arguing over the tax code and social security is not class warfare. The French Revolution, on the other hand, was class warfare, a fact which shouldn't cause anyone to lose their head. The Battle of Blair Mountain in 1921 was also class warfare and pitted 10,000 West Virginia coal miners against the hired guns of the mining companies. The mining companies went so far as to drop bombs on the miners from airplanes. Eventually the US Army intervened and the rebellion was put down.
Although claims of class warfare by American politicians are misrepresentations (a.k.a. lies), class politics does seem to be a major focal point in this year's election. Obviously the Obama campaign is going to hammer away at Romney over tax returns and constantly use Romney's wealth to divide him from middle and working class voters. But what has the Romney campaign and Republicans done that can be considered class politics?
Republicans have a few common strategies they seem to cycle through from time to time. Instead of attacking their opponents on wealth, Republicans prefer to take an angle on cultural elitism. You might want to sit down and have a beer with 'W', for example, but a Democrat candidate is likely a country club, ivory league kind of guy. You know, either an east coast liberal elite or a Hollywood elite, both of which have very different values from the homespun goodness of your average working class family. Republican strategists tested this hypothesis on Obama in 2008, but it really didn't stick.
The liberal agenda is alien from the values of “regular folks”, you see. The Tea Party realized this about the time Obama was elected and rallied the “regular type folks” to fight back against the liberal agenda at regular folk style town halls all across “my country tis of thee”. Their rallying cry was , "I want my country back". The implications of this “grass roots”, regular folk type “movement” was that Republicans were elected to Congress in 2010.
Here in 2012, Romney has mostly limited his class politics to occasionally mentioning the middle class. But I did notice one other nifty little ploy, which is probably the most commonly used Republican class invoking tactic. Last week Romney accused Obama of gutting welfare reform. In other words, Obama wants to give bums and welfare queens money to sit around and watch TV all day while “regular folks” go to work.
So you still want to see Romney's tax returns? Did you know there are people who lie to get food stamps?
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